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Police are to call the specials in.


What's a ska band from the 80's can do, is Madness and one step beyond me.




When I was a kid, my mum and dad made me constantly listen to their Madness and Specials albums.  I am pretty sure I've been


Ska-d for life.




I can't even begin to

describe the problems a simple little obsession has caused me.


My  girlfriend has dumped me and left the area.


My whole family have

disowned me, and moved away to different places.


All of my friends couldn't cope with me and also chose to

move away.


And all because of a simple obsession with the ska group "The Specials"


This town is becoming like a ghost town.





rude boy lager 6.8%
the specials ska 2 tone coventry



trojan rude boys unity anti fascists antifascistes
rude boy rude girl cool scooter

Rude boy, rudeboy, rudie, rudi, and rudy are slang terms that

originated in 1960s Jamaican street culture, and which are

still used today. In the late 1970s, the 2 Tone ska revival in

England saw the terms  rude boy and rude girl , among other

variations, being used to describe fans of that genre. This use

of the word moved into the more contemporary Ska Punk

movement as well.

Now in the United Kingdom, the terms rude boy and rude girl

are used in a similar way to gangsta or badman.


The rude boy subculture arose from the poorer sections of

Kingston, Jamaica, and was associated with violent

discontented youths. Along with ska and  rocksteady  music,

many rude boys favoured sharp suits, thin ties, and pork pie

or Trilby hats, showing an influence of the fashions of

American jazz musicians and soul music artists.

American cowboy and gangster/outlaw films from that period were also influential factors

in shaping the rude boy image. In that time period, unemployed Jamaican youth

sometimes found temporary employment from sound system operators to disrupt

competitors' dances (leading to the term dance hall crasher). The violence that

sometimes occurred at dances and its association with the rude boy lifestyle gave rise to

a slew of releases by artists who addressed the rude boys directly with lyrics that either

promoted or rejected rude boy violence. Starting in the 1970s, Jamaican reggae music

replaced the ska and rocksteady music associated with the rude boys. In the 1980s,

dance hall became the main Jamaican popular music genre, drawing some parallels with

the earlier rude boys in its culture and lyrical content.


In the 1960s, the Jamaican diaspora introduced rudeboy music and fashion to the United

Kingdom, which influenced the mod and skinhead subcultures. In the late 1970s, the

term rude boy and rude boy fashions came back into use after the 2 Tone band The

Specials and their record label 2 Tone Records instigated a brief but influential ska

revival. In this spirit, The Clash contributed "Rudie Can't Fail" on its 1979 album,

"London Calling." In more recent times in multi cultural Britain, the term rude boy has

become associated with street or urban culture, and is a common slang greeting. The

term rude boy has become associated with music genres such as ragga, jungle,  drum & 

 bass , garage, grime and dubstep.





rude boy ray gange the clash

                                                                                      Noah Wildman examines the

                                                                                      history of Jamaican music, and

                                                                                      the rude boy culture of yesterday.                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                      What is a rude boy? What is a

                                                                                      rude girl? What does 'to be rude'


                                                                                      Today, it simply means that you're

                                                                                      a dedicated member of the  ska 

                                                                                       scene . If you have a good ska

                                                                                      collection, if you dress up in a way

                                                                                      that indicates that you like ska, if

                                                                                      your style and taste makes it obvious to others that you're in with the                                                                                            ska crowd, you are therefore 'rude' by the definition of ska crowd.

                                                                                      Where did the term come from? I recently spoke to  Tommy McCook , the founder, leader and tenor saxophonist of the original ska band, When I asked him about rude boys coming to Skatalites in the early Sixties, McCook said:

                                                "Actually in our tenure as the  Skatalites , in the time of the ska music, we did not have any violence. We didn't have any rude boys, so to speak. The violence came around 1966. I remember when rock steady just came in, late '65. Then in '66 violence broke out wickedly across the island, so much so that we had to have a curfew and this is when rude boy thing came out."


The truth is that ' rudeness ' and the original 'rude boys' had absolutely nothing to do with ska. The rude boy came AFTER ska music, during the time of rock steady! Rude boys were the name given to a subculture of young street corner hoodlums, gangsters and other unemployables.


In emigrating to England, the rude boys helped spread Jamaican music to the  working-class skinheads , another youth subculture.

When the 2 Tone sound of ska (the second wave of ska in the late Seventies) made it into the popular media, youth subculture changed with it. Today, a new American subculture revolves around the images of the 'rude boy' and 'skinhead.'


The rude boy was not the first subculture of Jamaica, but it was the first youth subculture. After independence in the early Sixties (which gave birth to the nationalist 'ska' music), over-population was putting extreme demands on the basics of life---housing, work and food. The response to these conditions was the start of a creation of a new subculture, unofficially called  scufflers . Scuffling was just scrounging to get by, by any means necessary. This often meant involvement in the underground economy. Pimping and prostitution, begging and stealing became the unofficial economic activities in the shanty towns of West Kingston.


The squatter camps of  Trenchtown  and Back O'Wall existed on the fringe of the city since the Thirties, but population pressures enlarged them and a hurricane in 1951 allowed the squatters to capture nearby government land that was cleared for re-housing. People lived in packing crates, fish barrels, cardboard boxes and polystyrene packing pieces. Fire hydrants and open-air pit latrines supplied basic amenities. Living in these parts was a social stigma that guaranteed unemployment. Diseases of overcrowding ---tuberculosis and typhoid --- remained in the camps even though public health improvement in the 1930s put these in check elsewhere on the island. By the Sixties, the economic boom of the 1950s was receding, the Trenchtown poor were no better off than before.


 Independence  may have given a sense of optimism to the population. But a lack of any major change lead to riots and protest movements by the end of the decade. Within this decade, the sub-culture of the scuffling rude boy emerged. These rude boys defined their own personal style. These youths, boys from fourteen to twenty-five years, carried German ratchet knives and handguns. They came from all over West Kingston. With deteriorating living conditions, these rude boys were, above all, angry.


They wore sharp  3-button tonic suits  and "stingy brim," or pork-pie hats, in imitation of the upper-classes. The gangster image and sunglasses at all hours gave them a façade of 'cool,' a new and distinctly modern value. If you lived in

Trenchtown and scuffled for a living, dressing in this manner would certainly bring attention from neighbours, and suspicion from the upper classes.


According to the Jamaican census of 1960, over one-third of the entire population were unemployed and looking for their first job, about 10,000 people. On the other hand, 70% were under the age of 21, from where the rude boys came. First at the blues dances of the Fifties and later at the outdoor sound systems of the Sixties, it was the rude boys who would draw the knives and guns first, smash bottles for no particular reason, and cause fear when the pressure would heat up at the events. They would inspire a whole sub-genre within ska music---rude boy songs---which would either condone or condemn them.
2 tone ska skinheads stay rude 1969


One ska artist,  Prince Buster , celebrated the rude boy for their "rough n' toughness."

In the lyric to the early-Sixties ska song, "Too Hot," he sings:

                                                                                               Rude boys never give up

their guns, No one can tell them what to do. Pound for pound they say they're ruder

than you. Get out insurance and make up your will If you want to fight them.


Not all artists universally endorsed the sub-culture, as in  the Ruler's  1966 song,


"Don't Be A Rudeboy:"

                                  I don't want to be no rude boy, I just want to be a good boy.

Why don't you change your way rude boy, Try to be a good boy.

Because if you don't change your way, You're going to be killed by mistake someday.

And when you grow to be a man, You don't spend your days in the camps.

And when you walk down the street, People will respect the man they meet.


Either way, the  rude boys  were a strong presence on the scene in Jamaica, and a

popular image that followed the music. You can translate music, style and attitude

from country to country, you can even translate class-standing nationally, but for the

very specific economic, political and social forces that made the rude boys truly rude,

these things can not be copied.


The 2 Tone (ska revival) movement in the Seventies saw kids both black and white

dressing sharp and calling themselves rude boys, as one way to identify with the true

Jamaican roots of bands like the Specials, the Selecter and Madness. Today, kids are dressing 'rude' not to give props to the Jamaican roots, but to '2 Tone' each other. I got a big chuckle when I read a magazine piece that started off something like,


"Rude boys:

                    them no loot; them no shoot; what the fuck do they do?"


They're just ska fans, man, chill. Forgive them their lack of knowing the roots. Teach the young rude boy the way, and today's ska music will benefit.


 Prince Buster 



2 Tone Records was an English record label that mostly released ska and reggae - influenced music with a punk rock and

pop music overtone. It was founded by  Jerry Dammers  of the Specials and backed by Chrysalis Records.


Jerry Dammers started the 2 Tone record label in 1979.  Chrysalis  had wanted to sign the Specials, but Dammers arranged a label deal, for Chrysalis to fund 15 singles a year and release at least ten of those.


The label spawned the 2 Tone music and cultural movement, which was popular among skinheads,  rudies  and some mod revivalists. The label stopped operating in 1986, though "2 Tone" is still used as an imprint for back catalogue issues.


                                                                                          2 Tone Records signed the Selecter, Madness and  the Beat , but                                                                                                they all left within two years. 2 Tone Records acts signed a contract                                                                                              that allowed them to leave the label after releasing just one single,                                                                                                which was unusual in the record industry.


                                                                                          Madness and The Beat both took advantage of this clause; the                                                                                                    former to sign to  Stiff Records , and the latter to start their own                                                                                                    label, Go Feet Records.


                                                                                          Although 2 Tone Records was closely identified with the ska revival,                                                                                            efforts were made to sign artists such as singer-songwriter Elvis                                                                                                  Costello and the funk-punk band the Higsons. Dammers, with the                                                                                                assistance of Horace Panter and graphic designers. John "Teflon"                                                                                               Sims and David Storey, created artwork that was to become central                                                                                              to 2 Tone Records.  The Walt Jabsco logo  portrays a man in a                                                                                                    black suit, white shirt, black tie, pork pie hat, white socks and black                                                                                              loafers. The fictional character was based on a photograph of Peter                                                                                              Tosh, a former member of the Wailers.


                                                                                          The Beat (known in North Americas The English Beat and in                                                                                                        Australia as The British Beat) area 2 Tone ska revival band founded                                                                                            in Birmingham, England, in 1978. Their songs fuse ska, pop, soul,                                                                                                reggae and punk rock, and their lyrics deal with themes of love,            unity and socio-political topics. The Beat, consisting of  Dave   Wakeling  (vocals,guitar), Ranking Roger (vocals), Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bass), Everett Morton (drums), and Sax aka Lionel Augustus Martin (saxophone), released three studio albums in the early 1980s:

                                         I Just Can't Stop It (1980), Wha'ppen? (1981) and Special Beat Service (1982), and a string of singles, including "Mirror in the Bathroom", "Too Nice to Talk To", "Can't Get Used to Losing You", "Hands Off, She's Mine" and "All Out to Get You".


Formed in London by Nicky Summers in 1979, in the after math of the punk rock scene, The Bodysnatchers released two ska rock steady singles on 2 Tone Records. Their first concert was in November 1979 at the Windsor Castle pub in west London, where they supported Shane MacGowan's band The Nips. For their third gig, they were invited by Chrysalis Records to play at Debbie Harry's birthday party in late 1979. After signing to 2 Tone Records, the band released the single "Let's Do Rock Steady" (UK No. 22) and made an appearance on Top of the Pops in March 1980. They undertook a tour supporting The Selecter in spring 1980, and during that summer toured with The Specials and The Go Go's.  The Bodysnatchers  also played London's Hammersmith Odeon supporting Toots and the Maytals, as well as other slots with artists such as Lene Lovich and Madness. They appeared n the documentary film Dance Craze, featuring live performances by various 2 Tone bands. The      Bodysnatchers played together for less than two years, with the group disbanding in 1981, not having released an album.

 Still A Rude Boy At Heart 


still a rude boy at heart

                                                                                Madness  are an English ska band from Camden Town, London, that                                                                                         formed in 1976. One of the most prominent bands of the late 1970s and                                                                                       early 1980s ska revival, they continue to perform with their most

                                                                               recognised line-up of seven members. Madness achieved most of their                                                                                       success in the early to mid - 1980s.


                                                                               Both Madness and  UB40  spent 214 weeks on the UK singles charts over

                                                                               the course of the decade, holding the record for most weeks spent by a                                                                                       group in the 1980s UK singles charts. However, Madness achieved this in                                                                                   a shorter time period (1980 – 1986).


                                                                               Madness have had 15 singles reach the UK top ten, one UK number one                                                                                    single ("House of Fun") and two number ones in Ireland, " House of Fun "

                                                                               and "Wings of a Dove".

                                                                                The Selecter  are a 2 Tone ska revival band from Coventry, England,                                                                                           formed in mid 1979. The Selecter featured a racially diverse line up. Their lyrics featured themes connected to politics. Reinforcing the songs of Neol Davies were the voice and rude girl style of Pauline Black and the rhythms of Desmond Brown on the Hammond organ. The band's name is based on the term "selector", which is a Jamaican word for disc jockey. The band were one of the most successful ska bands of the 2 Tone era, notching up several top forty singles in the British charts. The Selecter reformed in 1991 and vocalist, Black, continued to perform and release music under The Selecter name until 2006. Some confusion emerged over two competing line ups for the Selecter in 2011, between that featuring Davies and that featuring Black and Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson, In June 2011 Black applied for, and won, The Selecter trademark and the right to use the name herself.


 The Specials , also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry. Their music combines a "danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude", and had a "more focused and informed political and social stance" than other ska groups. The band wore mod-style "1960s period rude boy outfits (pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits, and loafers)." In 1980, the song "Too Much Too Young", the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached number one in the UK. In 1981, the unemployment - themed single "Ghost Town" also hit number one in the UK Singles Chart.

studio one presents the skatalites ska foundation 32 authentic ska hits

                                                                                 The Skatalites  are a ska band from Jamaica. They played initially                                                                                              between and 1965, and recorded many of their best known songs in the                                                                                      period, including "Guns of Navarone." They also played on records by                                                                                        Prince Buster and backed many other Jamaican artists who recorded                                                                                          during that period. They reformed in 1983 and have played together ever                                                                                    since.


                                                                                The founders of the Skatalites were Tommy McCook (died 1998),                                                                                                Rolando Alphonso (died 1998), Lester Sterling, (Age 85) Lloyd Brevett                                                                                        (died 2012),  Don Drummond (died 1969), Jah Jerry Haynes (died 2007),                                                                                    Jackie Mittoo (died 1990)Johnny Moore (died 2008)

                                                                                and Jackie Opel (died 1970).                                                                                          

                                                                                These ten musicians started to play together from 1955, when Kingston's                                                                                    recording studios started to develop.  Tommy McCook  was the first                                                                                            member of the band to record, though not for commercial release:

                                                                                                                                                                                        he                                                                                            played with Don Hitchman's Group in 1953. Archie Lindo asked Hitchman                                                                                  to play a few tunes for his pioneer radio station, "ZQI", on their new                                                                                            equipment. Soon after that, sound system pioneer  Stanley Motta  began                                                                                    too operate his studio, where he recorded calypso and mento that were released on 78's. Rolando Alphonso was one of the first to record with him, probably in 1954. In spring 1964, The Skatalites recorded their first LP  Ska Authentic at Studio One  in Kingston and toured Jamaica as the creators of ska.


Their producers were Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Prince Buster, Vincent "King" Edwards, Justin "Phillip" Yap, Leslie Kong,

Lindon Pottinger, Sonia Pottinger and Vincent "Randy" Chin. The Skatalites led sessions with top artists and worked with young talents such as Delroy Wilson, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Lee Perry, etc.

"Madness saved my life. From where I came from, there was no real options for me, seriously."

                 {Suggs - December, 2019}

2 tone ska dance
rude boy lion
jamaica rude boy
rude girl rock steady
ska against racism
rudeboy dubstep
rude boy 2 tone 45rpm record
2 tone rude boy trojan warriors
2 tone original rude boy neville staple a life of crime and music from borstal to the specials

 The material on this site does not necessarily reflect the views of What If? Tees. 

 The Images and Text are not meant to offend but to Promote Positive Open Debate and Free Speech. 

 The material on this site does not reflect the views of What If? Tees. 

 The Images and Text are not meant to offend but to Promote Positive Open Debate and Free Speech. 

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